Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dearth of markets

Over the past few years, the number of markets for short science fiction has dwindled. Every time I get a rejection and look to send the story out again, I see a few more markets either going out of business or closed to submissions.

I suppose the subject is on my mind because of the news that the next issue of the quality semi-prozine Electric Velocipede will be its last. I've tried to sell them a story for years, without luck; I only met Publisher John Klima a few months ago at WorldCon. He's published it since 2001; it won a Hugo award in 2009.

Since the Recession kicked in, I've seen a steady stream of magazines fold because either they ran out of money, or the people involved ran out of time and money. These publications, especially the smaller ones, are a labor of love for dedicated fans, and it must be gut-wrenching to fold a magazine because of job constraints.

Since I don't write hard s-f, my pool of markets is smaller than it might be for some others, and when you take into consideration that I can write very fast, I end up dropping some very good stories into very small markets. Over the long run, through, I feel spreading my stories far and wide has helped my reputation as a writer.

And even if a story is originally published in a small venue, it may still have a good second life in an collection or anthology. This is a little trick I stole from Joe Lansdale.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Latest on "Letters from Gardner"

Got some feedback on "Letters from Gardner" from the man himself, making a few tweaks in the manuscript before sending it off to my Beta reader. I had already sent a copy of the book to John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press, let's see if I can hornswoggle convince him to give me a contract.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Anthology invite

Got an invite for an original steampunk horror anthology paying pro rates, closing next spring.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

"The Clock Struck None"

Sent back the galley of "The Clock Struck None". Found a mistake right up front in the acknowledgements. Also suggested moving a story around in the TOC.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Update

In addition to getting the page proofs for my next collection, "The Clock Struck None", I checked in with John Teehan at Merry Blacksmith Press to be sure he got "Letters from Gardner", and I talked to Bruce Bethke at Stupefying Stories about the special Weird Wild West edition which will be featuring my story "Riders of the Red Shift". All projects seem to be moving ahead, at various speeds.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Page proofs

Received page proofs from Ian Strock at Fantastic Books for my next collection, "The Clock Struck None", 274 pages of alternate and secret history short stories. The lead-off story is my Sidewise award finalist "Great White Ship". I will read everything this weekend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

While we're on the subject...

...of the "Raygun Chronicles" anthology, I should also pass along more information received from editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt:

"Amazon put the hardcover up for preorder last week, to my surprise. At 33% off, it's cheaper than I can sell you extra copies.

"We had a very successful launch at OryCon with a few backers present and several contributors and me. We signed and sold a bunch of books and even did a signing the next day at Powell's, a huge SFF bookstore in Portland.

"Meanwhile, I am going to target a book bomb wherein we have a release week and get everyone who buys to buy that week so we can get a boost in Amazon rating and visibility that will carry over. More on that soon."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"The Silver Dollar Saucer" flies again

Meanwhile, blogger Keith West at Amazing Stories gave "Raygun Chronicles" a very good review, and said of my contribution:

"Lou Antonelli is a northerner who lives in Texas these days and mines the history and folklore of his adopted state for his fiction, fiction that’s unique and unlike anything being written by anyone else. In “The Silver Dollar Saucer” he takes a couple of two bit desperadoes on a flying saucer ride. I especially liked the ending on this one."

For his complete review of the anthology, go this-a-way:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Letters from Gardner"

Finished up "Letters from Gardner" this Sunday, came in at 17 chapters, 86,339 words. This has been an interesting project, I hope it move towards publication now.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A first

With the release of "Something More Than Blood" by Park Cooper and Barbara Lien-Cooper, I've had a first - my blurb is on the front cover. I enjoyed it, and heartily recommend it; I suppose my approval comes through in the comments I wrote. Go over to Amazon and order it today!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

O. Henry found

Over the years I have seen that you can find old used books in the darnedest locations. Many times, they drift into antique stores, regardless of whether the store sells old books or not.

Years ago, I found a copy of "Adventures in Time and Space" atop some furniture on display in an antique store. I gave the owner a quarter for it. Another time, I stopped into a antique "store" that little more than a junkyard - and found a copy of "A Treasury of Modern Fantasy".

This weekend, as I wrote in my last post, my wife and I visited a used book store in a town with a lot of antique shops. One book I found there was a copy of the 1904 Doubleday publication of O. Henry's collection "Cabbages and Kings".

For a 109-year old book, it's in remarkable condition, and I'm very pleased with the purchase. I think I paid $2.99 for it.

But what's more amazing is that, later in the afternoon, while in an antique store, I found a battered old red copy of the 1926 Special Literary Digest Edition of "The Complete Works of O. Henry". It was sitting with a few other books on top of a chest of drawers. I paid the store owner two bucks for it.

Wow! This book is 1,400 pages, small type, stories run together, but there's all of them! It's bound in a bright red fake leather invented by Dupont called Fabrikoid.

I've always liked and admired O. Henry, and this is just a type of literary comfort food for me.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

London calling?

It's a long hike - almost 5,000 miles for me - but I'm giving some thought to going to London for the WorldCon next year. It is early enough in August that my wife may be able to come - she's a school teacher, and this year, for example, she couldn't come to San Antonio because by the Labor Day weekend school has already been in session for two weeks. But LonCon 3 will start on August 14.

My wife might come along for touristy reasons, and I wouldn't blame her. The whole trip could be declared as a business expense.

Neither my wife and I have ever owned a passport and traveled outside the U.S., so that would make it quite an adventure. But it might be worth a try.

It's just speculation for now, but I did fill out a volunteer form. We'll see if they would be willing to take me as a panelist. Also, even if they will have me, until the day we leave I wouldn't be certain I'll be going - crap has a way of happening.

The day I was to drive to San Antonio for WorldCon I awakened to find the drain for an internal A/C unit had clogged and flooded two guest bedrooms, and I had to wait until a repairman made a service call to the house. I hit the road late and didn't arrive in San Antonio that Thursday until after 7 p.m.

When I was starting to attend conventions over a decade ago, these kind of last-minute calamities happened so frequently that I stopped pre-registering for conventions. Although it's more expensive, I'd rather walk up and pay at the door.

I never was able to attend a convention I pre-registered for - something always came up. For years now, I haven't had to pay because I've been a panelist, and this past WorldCon was the first time I can recall I pre-registered and was able to attend - barely.

I assume the pre-registration curse was avoided because I didn't pay the full amount until I arrived, I wrote the final check when I picked up my packet.

Friday, November 08, 2013

In a writing slump

I haven't written anything genre-wise in the past two weeks, although I have been doing a lot of writing otherwise. My free time has been taken up with what I would characterize as a legal issue involving a family member, which has consumed all my writing talents. No need to get into details, but if it seems I don't have much to say, you're right. First things first.

I resent it when I have to take time from my normally busy life to deal with a problem caused by other people who are stupid and/or evil, but then that's life.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Outlining vs. Pantsing

The great divide in writing styles among genre writers, it is said, it the difference between outlining your story and flying by the seat of your pants.

When I was starting out over a decade ago, I tried to outline, but I quickly learned it seemed to constrain my free flow of thoughts. Since then, I have written in a style that would be called by most people "pantsing".

But that's probably a misnomer in my case. I learned over time that I apparently work out some kind of outline subconsciously in my mind beforehand, and when I sit down to write it pours out. The advantage of this style - why it works for me - is that since there is still is no outline to follow, I will write the narrative in whatever direction it leads.

As many writers will tell you, stories and characters often will go off in directions you didn't anticipate. The best thing to do sometimes is to get out of their way.

Friday, November 01, 2013

"Ender's Game" opens nation-wide

Orson Scott Card
Today marks the formal movie premiere across the country of "Ender's Game", the cinematic adaptation of Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel. Card is 62 and a stroke survivor, so he's not giving a lot of interviews, but there is a very good one up at the Wired web site. I found this exchange especially interesting:

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Q. You’ve gotten a lot of criticism on the web for your personal and political views about gay marriage. How do you feel about the backlash?

A. I hope that people will realize that they are not getting a true picture of me from these comments, and they’re certainly not getting anything to do with Ender’s Game, which was written long ago and has nothing whatsoever to do with gay marriage. I’ll just trust the audience to decide for themselves what the movie actually is, not what other people are saying about me.

Q. But you’ve got to address that there’s controversy around your views …
A. I issued an official statement. That’s really all I have to say about it.

Q. Much of your work is edgy for Mormons, yet the fact that you’re a Mormon is edgy for a lot of other people. What’s it like being in the middle?

A. In a way, being a Mormon prepares you to deal with science fiction, because we live simultaneously in two very different cultures. The result is that we all know what it’s like to be strangers in a strange land. It’s not just a coincidence that there are so many effective Mormon science fiction writers. We don’t regard being an alien as an alien experience. But it also means that we’re not surprised when people don’t understand what we’re saying or what we think. It’s easy to misinterpret us. I understand it. So, you know, I don’t get upset by that.

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You can find the entire interview here:

The time I stepped on Brian Aldiss

Word has come that the great British science fiction author Brian Aldiss has passed away at the age of 92. After such a long and distingui...